" "More Than Just Musing" #23
When we recognize that the cogs and levers of our government are not responding to our directions and desires, we have to first challenge our choice of representatives we send to Washington, second, we have to moderate the conditions we ask them to work under, and third we have to acknowledge the role we play in this paralysis.
Our representatives are both victims and perpetrators of tribalism. Upon arrival in Washington, they fall under the direct control of the tribal leader who assigns office space, committee placements, etc., who directs them to call-banks to raise money for the tribe, and who joyously introduces them to the K Street lobbyists with big money.
It appears that whatever attracted us in their candidacy immediately becomes less important than becoming a member-in-good-standing of the tribe thereby enhancing their chances of being re-elected. Is it not logically possible that the two hundred pieces of legislation passed almost unanimously by the House Democrats and now sitting in the Senate gathering dust, would not draw some Republican votes. Our elected representatives must show up, stand up, and speak up. Breaking rank does not equate with breaking trust.
If the problem is the candidates/representatives themselves, let's do something about it. Read about their views, check on their votes, attend town halls (Demand these public forums if they are not happening.), call their offices, call talk shows, write them letters (Short, with one or two pointed questions), write letters to the editors, do something. So, now we are sending the right people to Washington and our State capitols. Problem solved.
If the problem is their working environment, let's do something about that. Demand real campaign reform. If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United, to defund PACs, and to dole out RICO-like penalties to eliminate political corruption, let's do it.
If we want the citizens to choose their representatives rather that the tribes choosing their citizens, let's prohibit gerrymandering, and vigorously attack voter suppression again with RICO-like penalties.
If we respect and value individual citizens, let's do away with the Electoral College (This would take Constitutional Amendment.) for the popular vote - one citizen, one vote rather than allowing the vote of a citizen is a sparsely populated State to count more than a citizen in a densely populated State.
If we respect minority views and desire good faith negotiations rather than litmus tests, let's require a sixty-vote majority in the Senate for lifetime appointments. (This should be in a Constitutional Amendment.)The real threat to our democracy is not greed or political corruption. It is inertia.
The 28th Amendment to the Constitution is a good place to start.